Sen. Chuck Schumer And Rep. Hakeem Jeffries Want To Decriminalize Weed At The Federal Level

Change would have the way for legalization across the country.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)/ Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Photo Credit: Getty Images

| May 09 2019,

6:50 pm

New York Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries announced the reintroduction of the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act.

In a video posted to Twitter Schumer argued the bill furthers state's rights to make there own decision on recreational use of the drug.

“We’ve seen with medical use, the states are working. Some of the states have already legalized, and it’s working well there. So what we’re saying is very simple: let each state do what it wants.” Sen. Schumer said. “There’s not going to be the heavy hand of the federal government telling you can’t.”



The bill would also use the Small Business Administration to set up dedicated funding streams for women and minority-owned marijuana businesses, historical communities both kept out of entrepreneur opportunities and hit hardest by marijuana's criminalization.

“For far too long, the impact of America’s repressive, archaic marijuana laws has been felt most heavily by people of color,” said Rep. Jeffries. “This critical effort works to correct that injustice by providing $100 million toward expungement programs and creating an investment fund for people of color and female entrepreneurs who wish to enter the lucrative legal cannabis industry.”

The legislation would also incentivize states to create, enhance or expand programs to seal or expunge the record of individuals convicted of marijuana possession. The lawmakers hope $100 million in grant funding will be enough to guide them in that direction.

“You’ve had lives and communities that have been ruined in large measure by the over-criminalization. And so creating opportunity and economic space would be tremendous,” Jeffries said.

Schumer first introduced this legislation last year that did not receive a vote in the Senate.

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